Employee engagement in the hospitality world

Employee engagement in the hospitality world Author: Karin Andersson Published: 25 May 2017

With more entries on the ‘Sunday Times 100 best companies to work for’ from the hospitality industry than ever before it seems the sector is finally putting employees at the forefront of its focus.  In a sector that has historically been associated with long hours, low pay and poor career opportunities, what’s changed?

Hospitality business leaders are now stressing that employee engagement is critical to business success, especially an expanding one.  Prioritising engagement and employee welfare brings positive impact in some key areas; 

Improved retention and company culture 

By creating a rewarding, personable working environment companies attract and keep better employees, who usually provide better service to customers. Those customers become further engaged, improving brand perception. Engaged employees stay, often move up through the organisation and strengthen the culture. They hire more great employees like themselves, and the cycle continues. 

Profitability and productivity 

Having to deal with a high staff turnover rate is a two-pronged problem. The first and most obvious issue is cost; it costs to replace an employee – a number that reflects hours of training and time required to get a new starter up to full productivity. Beyond cost, employee attrition can have a negative impact on morale. If a company gains a reputation for high turnover, this can perpetuate a climate of transience in which workers view their job as a pit stop until something better comes along. As a result, productivity and quality can suffer.

So what can companies do to improve employee engagement and subsequently culture?

  • Hire right.  Communicate and live your values and hire people that reflect and embrace them.  
  • Communication and transparency. If your employees have all the right information at hand they can make better decisions for your business.  
  • Invest in training and development. Research shows 96% of hospitality workers would be less likely to leave their employer if they were offered comprehensive training and development opportunities. 
  • Fair pay, fair benefits.  Whilst money is not the only motivator, it is important for morale and quality of life. 
  • Reward ambition and creativity.  Encouraging staff to ask questions, offer up ideas, and express their creativity makes them feel part of the bigger picture.  
  • Adjust! Be open to feedback (and criticism). Millennials in particular have shown a desire to be heard. 

Dishoom, Hawksmoor and Peach Pub Company were among the 12 hospitality operators to feature on the list which sees staff rank their employers on factors including leadership, pay and work/life balance.  These are leading brands in their sectors – proof that staff engagement and culture impacts customer experience, brand impression and therefore results.

Karin Andersson is a Consultant specialising in senior leadership appointments in the Leisure and Hospitality sector

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